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Layoffs at Turner Classic Movies have movie fans and Hollywood legends concerned : NPR


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After layoffs at Turner Traditional Films, many film followers and hollywood legends are involved about the way forward for the corporate. NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe asks Deadline editor Dade Hayes concerning the turmoil.


For almost 30 years, Turner Traditional Films has been the place for folks to observe and find out about celebrated movies of the previous.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Over 350 classics from the world’s largest film library and never a business in sight.

RASCOE: However after some high-profile layoffs at TCM lately, some film followers and Hollywood bigwigs sounded the alarm, lots of them fearful that modifications on the firm would alter and diminish the beloved basic film useful resource. To speak extra concerning the newest at TCM and the corporate’s future, we known as Dade Hayes. He is Deadline’s enterprise editor, and he joins us now. Hello there.

DADE HAYES: Hello there.

RASCOE: OK, so for the oldsters that do not know, like, what’s been occurring at Turner Traditional Films recently? Like, what’s behind the layoffs, and why had been folks getting so fearful about this?

HAYES: Nicely, within the spring of 2022, WarnerMedia and Discovery got here collectively in a $43 billion merger. It was one of many largest offers in media historical past. And any time there is a merger, you already know there’s going to be cost-cutting on the opposite aspect. In order that’s actually been the narrative at Warner Bros. Discovery, the mixed firm during the last 12 months or so – deep, deep layoffs, billions of {dollars} in price financial savings. They’ve seemed all over the place, offered off a whole lot of enterprise. I used to be speaking to 1 individual there who mentioned they might promote the furnishings if they may. I imply, it is that sort of surroundings proper now. And the economic system’s not nice.

In order that they’re actually determined to slim down their operation. And so they checked out Turner Traditional Films. And this can be a, you already know, beloved model, and it resonates in a different way while you begin reducing in that surroundings than it does different components of the enterprise. And so folks instantly leapt to the conclusion that, you already know, one thing drastic was going to alter. Now, formally, Warner Discovery says that is not so. However they did take away the GM and several other different senior-level executives, and it simply made folks surprise.

RASCOE: I imply, at this level, you already know, a whole lot of occasions, it will simply be folks on-line form of screaming into the void. However on this difficulty, Hollywood’s largest legends acquired concerned – proper? – Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson. Like, what had been they involved about?

HAYES: Nicely, they actually view TCM as a cultural useful resource and one thing for the general public although it, clearly, is a for-profit enterprise. You recognize, they have a look at the heritage of TCM. I imply, it is three many years outdated. It performs a job in, you already know, movie preservation and movie training. They take it fairly significantly. And, you already know, I am inclined to be sympathetic to that view. However they mainly wished to move this off on the go.

They’d really been fully shocked in 2018 when WarnerMedia, again earlier than it was a part of Discovery, had shut down a service known as FilmStruck, a streaming service that exhibits a whole lot of the identical films that seem on TCM. And that additionally induced an enormous quantity of backlash within the movie neighborhood with dozens of administrators and others weighing in. But it surely was too late, you already know? They only weren’t capable of reactivate that service. So on this case, they’re simply mainly attempting to get out in entrance of it and say, hey, you are stripping this factor down. You take the highest administration away. And that is not OK. They wished their voices heard.

RASCOE: And they also find yourself having calls with David Zaslav, who’s the pinnacle of Warner Bros. Discovery. And did these calls have an effect?

HAYES: It seems that they did. Late Friday, Deadline reported – and a few others – that they’ve handed the reins of TCM to the heads of the movie studio, Warner Bros. Footage. Pamela Abdy and Michael De Luca, who run the studio, are going to supervise TCM. It is an uncommon association.

And, you already know, let’s be clear. It would not seem that they are going to be setting the programming schedule or promotional budgets or form of the issues that folks do after they run a cable community. Their experience is movie. In order that they’re actually going to be form of, you already know, curators and overseers of what programming seems on TCM. And I believe that can appease a whole lot of the critics and a whole lot of the individuals who had been involved. It is undoubtedly, within the brief time period, a victory, after which we’ll have to observe it from right here.

RASCOE: Can followers of basic films sleep simple tonight concerning the safety of TCM?

HAYES: I believe there’s nonetheless purpose to be involved. I want I may very well be extra encouraging, however I’ve lined this firm for a lot of incarnations again even earlier than David Zaslav was on the scene, and I’ve additionally lined his reign at Discovery. And it is simply going to proceed to be about revenue. You recognize, the fascinating irony is that TCM is kind of worthwhile. It has among the highest margins in cable. But it surely would not take promoting, so it is very depending on being carried on pay TV programs. And it simply, you already know, wants a vitality. It wants a purpose for folks to tune in. So it simply form of stays to be seen on this on-demand streaming world if a linear channel can determine it out. I imply, the percentages are sadly stacked in opposition to it. However this can be a little little bit of a ray of sunshine. It isn’t fairly a Hollywood ending, however I believe it is an encouraging signal. At the very least nothing within the speedy time period goes to alter.

RASCOE: That is Deadline enterprise editor Dade Hayes. Thanks a lot for being on the present.

HAYES: Thanks very a lot.

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NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content might not be in its ultimate type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability could range. The authoritative file of NPR’s programming is the audio file.


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